How to Identify Pathological Gambling

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR), compulsive gamblers have experienced a couple of the following signs and symptoms:

  • a preoccupation with gambling (for example, reliving past gambling victories, planning the next opportunity to gamble, or thinking of ways to obtain money with which to gamble)
  • gambling to forget about problems or to relieve unpleasant emotions (such as guilt, anxiety, and depression)
  • a return for another day of gambling in attempts to recoup previous losses
  • lying to others about the extent of their involvement with gambling
  • committing illegal acts to finance gambling

Possible Causes of Pathological Gambling

Certain personality types seem to be more prone to developing gambling addictions. Many tend to be highly competitive, energetic, and restless. Thrill seekers and extroverts may be more prone to develop an addiction to gambling. Those who become addicted tend to seek action, arousal, and euphoria even more than the money. As the addiction progresses, gamblers often need to increase the amount of money they wager or take riskier bets to achieve the same level of arousal, writes a website

Many experts agree that pathological gambling is an addiction because of the rush they feel when they gamble. Gambling addicts feel unable to resist, even though they know they cannot afford to lose. The hormone norepinephrine, which is released as a stress response, has been linked to the arousal and risk-taking in habitual gamblers. The brain’s reward system releases dopamine, which may also compel gamblers to continue their pleasure-seeking activities.

Irrational thought processes also increase risks for compulsive gamblers. For example, superstitions, overconfidence, and over-estimations of the odds of winning often worsen the gamblers’ problems.

Risks Associated with Pathological Gambling

Financial problems are the most obvious risks that compulsive gamblers face. Pathological gamblers are also at higher risks of suicide and suicide attempts.

Problem gamblers are also prone to developing medical conditions often associated with stress, including high blood pressure, ulcers, and migraine headaches.

Help for Those Suffering from Gambling Addictions

Admitting that one is a compulsive gambler is the first step to recovery. Many pathological gamblers have benefited from Gamblers Anonymous. Many find the support of the fellowship and the 12 steps of the Gamblers Anonymous program are essential in their abilities to abstain from gambling.

Physicians may choose to prescribe medications to treat depression, anxiety, and physical problems that often accompany gambling problems. Physicians may also recommend psychotherapy to their patients who seek help for compulsive gambling.

Individual and group psychotherapy are often beneficial for pathological gamblers. In therapy, those recovering from a gambling addiction can identify the irrational thoughts that exacerbated their gambling problems and replace them with thoughts that will aid them in their abilities to abstain from gambling. Therapists can also help their clients improve their abilities to resolve or cope with some of the additional problems their gambling caused.

The Five Most Common Addictions – From Gambling to Alcoholism

When addiction is mentioned, many people automatically think of drug or alcohol abuse. But there are numerous forms of addiction, ranging from gambling to overeating. Addiction is defined as a dependency on a certain action or substance. An addiction occurs whenever a person becomes dependent on that specific action or substance to meet his or her emotional needs.

A person may not even be aware they have an addiction until the results of overeating or compulsive gambling begin to take a toll. It is believed that certain personality traits such as low self-esteem and lack of self-confidence may be factors that contribute to an addictive personality.

Help for Compulsive Gambling

Many addictions, such as gambling, start as a small problem that gradually escalates. The gambler enjoys the high of uncertainty and the thrill of winning. The problem gambler may start out making small bets that grow increasingly larger and more risky.

The effects of compulsive gambling can be devastating and may result in the loss of jobs, homes, friends and family. A person who believes that he or she may have a gambling addiction should seek counseling. Help can be found at the National Council on Problem Gambling, which has counselor information as well as a 24-hour confidential hotline.

The Dangers of Food Addiction

Compulsive eating is often a reaction to loneliness or rejection. Overeaters may compensate for an empty feeling inside that has nothing to do with food. The chronic overeater must find other ways to reward themselves besides eating, such as getting involved in various social activities.

Breaking the compulsive eating habit can be difficult because food is so easy to obtain. The effects of overeating can lead to dire consequences such as obesity and health concerns. There are many weight loss programs which can provide help and support. One of these is Food Addicts Anonymous.

Overcoming Sex Addiction

Just as overeating is not always about food, sex addiction is often more about unfulfilled emotional needs than a desire for unlimited sex. Sex addiction is often linked to low self-esteem. People with sex addictions may feel unloved and crave affection and attention, and may find sex a way of temporarily boosting their self-esteem by feeling wanted and needed.

Sex addiction can lead to loss of relationships as well as a high risk for sexually transmitted diseases.

Battling Alcoholism

Alcohol is widely abused. It causes the illusion of a high but it is really a depressant. Alcohol is also very addictive. It is known that some people are more prone to alcoholism than others.

Alcoholism causes many health risks such as liver and kidney damage. It also causes marital problems, job loss, and driving while intoxicated is the cause of many accidents. Support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous are invaluable to keep the problem drinker on the road to recovery.

Beating Drug Addiction

Addictive drugs include heroin, cocaine and marijuana. Usually people begin by experimenting with drugs. It is highly suggested not to attempt taking drug with an attitude to just have a taste of it once. It may lead to disaster.

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